U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. House of Representatives - 


Doug Krizner: If you think politics gets played at the office holiday party, imagine the bashes lobbyists will throw at next year's national conventions. Congress passed new restrictions for members to participate. But congressional watchdogs are calling them meaningless. More from Nancy Marshall Genzer.

Nancy Marshall Genzer: New ethics rules say a member of Congress, quote: "May not participate in an event honoring that member."

The House ethics committee interpreting the rules said, aha -- what about parties that honor a whole congressional delegation? The rules say no parties for one, but don't mention a party for two -- or more.

Public Citizen watchdog Craig Holman:

Craig Holman: They're the type of parties that really tend to make most Americans sick to their stomach when they see this going on. Calling them "soirees" is very appropriate.

Democracy 21 President Fred Wortheimer says the lobbyists will have to report the cost of these soirees, making lawmakers uncomfortable.

Fred Wortheimer: And I don't think they can explain to their constituents how lobbyist paid for these parities at the national convention.

The watchdogs might sue to stop the lavish bashes. The ethics committee had no comment.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.